Apple discontinues the iPod after 20 years

The end of an era! Apple discontinues the iPod after 20 years – but insists its ‘spirit lives on’ in other devices

  • Apple has announced iPod’s demise 20 years since it was first released in 2001 
  • Cupertino firm said the iPod redefined how music is discovered and listened to
  •  The last iPod model was the seventh-generation iPod Touch, released in 2019

It’s one of the most successful Apple products of all time, and revolutionised the way we listen to music.

Now, Apple has announced it’s discontinued the iPod, more than 20 years after the very first one was released back in October 2001.

A spokesperson for the tech giant said the iPod redefined how music is discovered and listened to, and that its spirit ‘lives on’. 

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The original iPod, pictured here, was the first MP3 player to pack 1,000 songs and a 10-hour battery into a 6.5-ounce package

iPod Touch (seventh generation), introduced on May 28, 2019, features the A10 Fusion chip, enabling immersive augmented reality experiences and Group FaceTime, along with 256GB of storage. It’s also the final iPod model ever to be released

‘Music has always been part of our core at Apple,’ said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. 

‘Bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry – it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to and shared. 

‘Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad and Apple TV. 

‘And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio – there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.’ 

The most recent iPod to be released was the seventh generation iPod Touch, released in May 2019, while the very first iPod model, with its mechanical scroll wheel and white cover, was the first MP3 player to pack 1,000 songs.

Described by Fortune as ‘Apple’s 21st-Century Walkman’, the original iPod was said to be developed in less than one year and unveiled on October 23, 2001 at a price of $399

Pictured, the popular iPod Mini, introduced on February 20, 2004, which packed iPod’s capacity into a smaller design at just 3.6 ounces

iPod shuffle (fourth generation), introduced on July 15, 2015, offered a sleek design with up to 15 hours of battery life, 2GB of storage good for hundreds of songs, and a VoiceOver button to hear a song title, playlist name, or battery status

Described by Fortune as ‘Apple’s 21st-Century Walkman’, the original iPod was said to be developed in less than one year and unveiled by Steve Jobs on October 23, 2001 at a price of $399. 

Also among the most memorable iPod models was the iPod Mini, introduced in February 2004, which had a smaller design and came in a range of colours. 

The iPod Shuffle, meanwhile, which was first released in January 2005, came without a display and was the smallest model in the iPod family. 

By the time the final iPod Touch model came out, the form factor essentially replicated Apple’s smartphones, with a selection of handy apps. 

iPod Touch can even make phone calls, rendering the iPod almost redundant in the face of Apple’s all-powerful iPhone.

Watch Steve Jobs introduce the very first iPod in 2001 

Apple’s announcement, made on Tuesday, led to an outpouring of fond memories on social media from former iPod owners. 

Dutch designer Sebastiaan de With, who goes by the Twitter handle @sdw, said: ‘I’m endlessly grateful for iPod. 

‘It got me into the Apple ‘universe’ at 15. It’s what made me buy my first Mac three years later, which started my career as a designer.’ 

Another Twitter user, @NikiasMolina, simply said: ‘Thank you for changing the world iPod.’ 

‘Thank you for changing the world iPod’: Users took to social media to share memories of their first iPod purchase and their love for the Apple device 

Apple said customers can purchase iPod Touch through, Apple Store locations and authorized Apple resellers while supplies last. 

Fans are already snapping up the last of the iPod Touch devices still being sold, possibly to keep them in their packaging and turn them into collectors items in years to come. 

Twitter user @EthanSteury said: ‘Since Apple is discontinuing the iPod, I bought one.’  

Meanwhile, user @TomGreggors said: ‘How long before the iPod has a vinyl-esque revival? I’ll be fully on board when it does!’


The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.

The first product was the Apple I. 

1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market. 

1981: Jobs became chairman.  

1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.

1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.

1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.  

2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.

The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

2007: Apple unveils the iPhone. 

2010: The first iPad was unveiled.

2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.

2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus. 

2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services. 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.  

2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.    

2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers. 

2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.

2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus. 

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